15 years ago, tornado rips through Myrtle Beach - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

15 years ago, tornado rips through Myrtle Beach

Image of the tornado, taken from a YouTube video by user hz36t5 Image of the tornado, taken from a YouTube video by user hz36t5
Most windows were blown out of ocean-facing rooms in this hotel, and some palm trees had their tops ripped from them. Credit NWS. Most windows were blown out of ocean-facing rooms in this hotel, and some palm trees had their tops ripped from them. Credit NWS.
This large billboard was bent over by winds estimated in excess of 100 mph. Credit NWS. This large billboard was bent over by winds estimated in excess of 100 mph. Credit NWS.
A motorhome was flipped over by the tornado near the beach. Credit NWS. A motorhome was flipped over by the tornado near the beach. Credit NWS.
Myrtle Beach tornado near the old Pavilion Myrtle Beach tornado near the old Pavilion

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Think the beach "protects" us from tornadoes? Think again. Fifteen years ago, a tornado moved along the Beaches of the Grand Strand, bringing winds of 150 miles per hour, causing an estimated $8 million in damage, and minor injuries to 36 people, according to the National Weather Service.

The first reports of tornadoes in Myrtle Beach came in between 4:25 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on July 6, 2001.

Video from vacationers, such as one uploaded to YouTube, show the funnel moving slowly across the beachfront, surrounded by a cloud of dust and debris. Flashes of light were visible as the power lines arced in the winds.

Damage was widespread across Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, including damage to many buildings, signs, utility poles, and vehicles. According to the National Weather Service, the damage indicated peak wind speeds of 113 to 157 miles per hour. Many vehicles and motels had their windows blown out, several vehicles were flipped over, several structures had damage to their roofs and stucco walls, including one wooden structure that had its roof completely blown off. Power lines were downed, and several large billboards were completely removed.

Damage was most concentrated in the area of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion site, although there were spots of damage for miles north along the coastline. Damage was estimated at $8 million total, with damage to vehicles accounting for over $1 million of that figure.

Thirty-six people were reportedly taken by ambulance to local hospitals for minor injuries.

Do you remember this day? Do you have photos or videos of the tornado? The WMBF First Alert Weather Team would love to see them! Post them to the First Alert Facebook page, tweet them to @WMBFWeather, or e-mail them to weather@wmbfnews.com.

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